Next incarnation set to bring Microsoft more millions
A MILESTONE IN video gaming was reached when Microsoft announced that sales of its Halo 3 game had topped US$300m in its first week after release in 2007. At the time that made it the fastest selling video game in history, before Grand Theft Auto 4 was launched in 2008, raking in $500m in its first week – in the United States alone.
Since the record-breaking release of Halo 3, the title has gone on to make more millions for Microsoft in sheer sales and by attracting consumers to Microsoft’s Xbox 360 gaming console and the Xbox Live online service, where gamers can play against each other and access digital content.
A year after the launch of Halo 3 came Halo Wars, another successful title in the franchise. And last week Microsoft launched Halo 3: ODST as a standalone expansion to Halo 3 – meaning it brings extra content and game-play to what’s essentially the same game.
Halo was developed by Microsoftowned Bungie Studios and is an example of a big-budget game franchise in a market eclipsing other entertainment segments, such as movies and music. In 2004 the market size for video games in the US was estimated at close to $11bn: the industry size worldwide is now likely a few times that.
The market is also growing and pushing into older demographics, especially with 25-to 50-year-olds, and SA is considered to be one of the world’s fastest growing markets for video games.
With Halo 3: ODST Microsoft hopes to extend its lead in the market over Sony, which has fallen behind with its PlayStation 3 product, and do some catch-up to Nintendo, which is the market leader with its ridiculously popular Wii console.